Following the precedent set by last year’s hot-ticket NES and Famicom Classic mini consoles, Nintendo will release the Super NES Classic in the west and its counterpart, Super Famicom Mini, in the east. Each contains 21 games. Most are shared between the two boxes, but each will receive five unique titles. Street Fighter 2 Turbo, EarthBound, Super Punch-Out!!, Super Castlevania 4, and Kirby’s Dream Course will grace the SNES Classic, while the Super Famicom Mini swaps those for Super Street Fighter 2, Tetris Attack, The Legend of Mystical Ninja, Super Soccer, and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.
What both peewee consoles share in common, besides 16 overlapping games, is quality. Every game is a blue chipper, responsible for inventing, refining, and popularizing visual styles and gameplay systems still in vogue today. And by virtue of being bona fide classics, each game is a gold mine of history.
Below, you’ll find nuggets and tidbits related to the Super Famicom Mini’s five exclusive games. Dig even deeper by reading up on 21 facts you might not know about the games on the SNES Classic, including those shared between both consoles.
Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
Source: Fire Emblem Wikia
Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem was the first Super Famicom game stored on a 24-megabit cartridge and the third game in the series. Everything else about Mystery of the Emblem comes in twos. Two directors, two producers, and two designers shepherded the project. Two sound designers worked on the game’s audio and soundtrack. Even the story is told across two acts, called “Books.”
Perhaps enticed by the 24-bit cartridge’s increased graphical and storage capabilities, Intelligent Systems crammed Books I and II with content. So much content, in fact, that both parts couldn’t fit on a single cartridge. The studio toyed with the idea of splitting the game into two releases. Instead, a good deal of content from Book I was left on the cutting-room floor to make room for the second part.
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyushutsu Emaki)
Source: Jim McCullough
Konami’s The Legend of the Mystical Ninja encompasses tangible and intangible facets of Japanese culture. The game’s Warlock Zone I level takes place in the city of Edo, a real location known as the epicenter of Japanese trade and politics. During the 19th century, Japan renamed the city Tokyo.
Many of the game’s enemies are based on Japanese mythology. The shibito (reanimated corpses, like zombies, but possessing a modicum of intelligence) are blue-skinned monsters garbed in white. The color of the shibito’s garb dates traces back to an ancient custom dictating that the dead be buried in white.
Super Soccer was hardly a best seller in the United States, but you might have paid a quarter to play it if you happened across any Nintendo Super System arcade machines. Loaded with games that players selected via a menu, Nintendo Super System cabinets featured a mix of titles that were ported to Super NES and Super Famicom, since the coin-op cabinet ran on identical hardware.
Some, such as Super Mario World and Contra 3, attained legendary status almost immediately upon release. Others, such as Super Soccer and Ultimate Tennis, never burned up sales charts, but testified to the variety of games on the Super NES and Super Famicom.
Tetris has been released in myriad incarnations over the years, but Tetris Attack is perhaps the most unorthodox of the bunch, and with good reason. One in a long line of games that started as one design only to be retooled along the way, Tetris Attack was released in Japan as Panel de Pon. Tetris had become a cash cow for Nintendo, leading the console manufacturer to convince Henk Rogers, CEO of The Tetris Company, to brand Panel de Pon with the Tetris name for a western release.
Panel de Pon’s characters and iconography were changed to characters from Yoshi’s Island, deemed more recognizable to western players. Its gameplay, quite different from standard Tetris, remained unchanged. Instead of moving blocks rain down from above to clear horizontal lines, Tetris Attack saw a grid of colored squares rising from the bottom. A different symbol adorned each square, and players had to match three of a kind to clear vertical or horizontal lines by swapping adjacent blocks.
Rogers has admitted that the deal holds a high spot on his list of career regrets. “When Nintendo came to us and said, ‘We would like to take this Japanese game called Panel de Pon, and rename it Tetris Attack,’ I’m saying, ‘It’s not Tetris,’” he explained in a 2009 interview. “But my partner’s saying, ‘But it is money!’ So, uh, so, we, I, reluctantly agreed. In retrospect, we should never have done that. I don’t think that’s a good idea. It dilutes the brand. It’s like naming another cartoon character Mickey Mouse just ‘cause you need the money. It’s just a bad idea. So I wouldn’t do that again.”
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
Source: Game Spy
Guile may hail from the US of A, but he was designed by Japanese artists. Chiseled with muscles stacked on muscles, and vain—judging by the fact that he runs a comb through his blonde hair as a post-match celebration—Guile is a veritable caricature that oozes machismo not unlike ‘80s action heroes such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal.
DeeJay, one of the four new challengers who debuted in Super Street Fighter 2, isn’t American, but he was the only SSF2 character to be made by one. Capcom USA designer James Goddard became the first American to create a street fighter when he came up with the Jamaican fighter’s design and move set. Goddard based DeeJay on a particular American rather than the amalgam of American stereotypes that formed Guile.
“I had just seen 'King of the Kickboxers' with Billy Blanks and I just thought that a really kick-ass black character would be awesome, instead of someone who was more negative, which is what you tended to see from the Japanese back in those days,” Goddard told GameSpy in an archived interview. “I mean, you have to remember, this was Billy Blanks pre-'Tae Bo.' He was so bad-ass, and I mean, he still is, but who would've thought that he'd end up in yellow tights with a bunch of ladies doing kickboxing moves and losing weight? Good thing that wasn't out yet or I don't think [Capcom Japan’s managers] would've went for DeeJay.”